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Home :: Archive :: 2006 :: April ::
Monsieur La Far
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 17.0309  Tuesday, 11 April 2006

From: 		Tony Burton <
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Date: 		Monday, 10 Apr 2006 18:00:49 -0400
Subject: 17.0301 Monsieur La Far
Comment: 	Re: SHK 17.0301 Monsieur La Far

I'm surprised that no one has connected the Monsieur La Far of Lear with 
the Monsieur Le Fer of Henry V.  Both names have evoked speculation that 
it carries some unrecognized significance.  Given the vagaries of 
English orthography and regional or class differences in pronunciation, 
the "e"/"a" variation practically assures that the names were pronounced 
the same way.  For starters, think of clerk/clark, derby/Darby, 
sergeant/Sargent, and then compile your own list.  Moreover, Shakespeare 
regularly conflated the French articles "la" and "les" with "le."

Although I've never seen a dictionary entry to this effect, Deanne 
Williams occasionally translates the French "fer" as the Queen in chess, 
in her "The French Fetish from Chaucer to Shakespeare."

If anyone comes up with a new (and documented) alternative suggestion, 
please let me know.  The question has been on my mind for ages.

Tony Burton

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